Students at Eastern will still be able to receive the Monetary Award Program grant in Spring 2016, despite concerns brought up because of the State’s budget situation.
Paul McCann, interim vice president of business affairs, said they were not expecting the students to pay the money; they were waiting for the State to give them the money owed to the students.
“The way it actually works is (the state) sends the money to us. It doesn’t go directly to the students; it goes to the school then they apply it to the student’s account,” McCann said.
McCann said the state currently owes the school money.
“The state owes us money for the amount of money we’ve applied against the student’s account,” McCann said.
The way the bills for the university works, the university applies all of the charges on a student’s bill with all the tuition and all the fees.
Once the tuition and fees are on the bill, they then reduce the fee by the amount of financial aid that is provided.
“We’ve never done anything other than put on (the bills) Pell, MAP, or whatever and we reduce that balance and say the net balance is XYZ,” McCann said. “Once we say what that is, that’s all we expect the student to pay.”
McCann said from the standpoint of the student, there is no reason to think the MAP money was not being treated the same way they always have been.
“The bill was set up the same way, the MAP, the Pell,” McCann said. “From what the students know, the balance is what the balance is. We’re not playing any games.”
McCann said they were now just waiting for the state to come up with the MAP money.
“From the standpoint of what we’ve done or haven’t done, we didn’t feel like there was anything we really needed to do because we’ve already applied (the MAP grant) against the student’s account,” McCann said. “It’s not only if we get the money. We’ve applied it. We’ve taken it on.”
Going forward into the Spring of 2016, McCann said they have every intention of doing things the same way.
He said things could change if the legislature said they were not going to give MAP out this year, and it could have implications for the students.
“A lot of kids made the decision to come to Eastern, to any school, based on the amount of aid they got,” McCann said. “Is that fair, for the kids relying on that letter or announcement that they get from MAP saying ‘I got Aid,’ is it fair for us to say ‘you’re going to have to pay that?’”
McCann said very few schools are requiring students to pay that balance before day one.
Before December 31st, the legislature needs a 60 percent majority to pass a bill that involves a budget.
“Will they have the ability to do that? I don’t know,” McCann said.
He said for this to happen, the Democrats would have to vote yes, because up until this point the Republicans had voted no.
“That’s why we’re stuck at this point, and if one Democrat votes no, it changes things,” McCann said.
McCann said the situation with the MAP grant is no different than it has been for the last four or five years.
“(In the past) we haven’t gotten the money from the state until November, December, sometimes even later than that for the fall semester,” McCann said.
Because the school does not yet have an appropriation of funds from the state this year, there has been heightened concerned about the state of the MAP grant.
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]